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December 01, 2004

Free Will, part 2

I've talked about the various types of free will before. In this post, I'm going to discuss the different perspectives on how free will and divine sovereignty coincide.

Some people think they don't. If we have free will, then God really cannot know what the future holds, whether ten years from now, or ten minutes. God rolls the dice and takes a chance. He's got a better chance at being right than we do, but He still only has a chance. He could be wrong, he could be surprised. He is often disappointed. But He's still God.

That, in a nutshell, is open theism. God makes mistakes, and learns from us. We control our destiny, and God is just along for the ride. I'm working on a post where I look at the various Scripture passages that open theises typically use to support their view, and I'll post that later on. For right now, I'll say that I really don't think that this is the omnipotent, omniscient God that the Bible shows us.

If we hold to libertarian free will, though, open theism is not that big of a stretch, philosophically. We can always do things differently, so our actions influence God's knowledge and planning. Some people have adopted a different view, which is called Molinism.

Molinism essentially teaches that God has 'middle knowledge' -- that He knows things based on His creative action (free knoweldge), based on 'the way things have to be' (natural knowledge, things that are necessarilly true and not dependant on anything), and based on His absolute knowledge of all possible actions that His created beings can take (middle knowledge). This is a very complex system (I just finished writing a 15 page paper on it for philosophy, which I will post somewhere later on) -- suffice it to say that it involves God knowing absolutely everything that we could possibly do, not just what we actually do. His knowledge of the future is tied to this middle knowledge.

I am a compatibilist: I think that our freedom is based in God's will and our character/personality. We are therefore free, but not absolutely free. In His sovereignty, God knows what choices we will make -- based on either the situation we are in, or His understanding of how we will react to a situation, or simply because He knows how He will act in the situation and thus knows its outcome. This is similar to middle knowledge, but is based ultimately in God's creative act -- either in His creation of us and our personalities, His shaping of the situation around us, or His special act in creation. (This ended up being the thesis of the paper I just mentioned -- that the idea of middle knoweldge is correct, but it is not separate from God's free knowledge -- what He knows because of His actions. Here is an article by someone who agrees with me. There is an excellent one in the recent Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society that says essentially the same thing).

Sovereignty and free will is not an issue for compatibilists. Our free will is always exercised under the supervision of God, and He works through our actions. Because His will is always accomplished, He is in control of the circumstances, even though we are exercising our freedom. Libertarian free will implies a God who is always having to guess to stay one step ahead of HIs creation, or at the very least a God who really doesn't know everything.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 04:20 PM | Comments (0)

December 03, 2004

A News Cruise

I'm having a hard time coming up with something insightful, witty, or new to say, so I decided to cruise through the blog at Christianity Today, and add my own pithy comments on the news. Unlike CT, though, I've already registered with all the "registration required" sites, remember? Username: either piewview or piewview@yahoo.com, password is blogger42. It's that easy! (If this doesn't work on any newspaper sites you find, let me know, and I'll fix it.)

  • The UMC has defrocked their resident lesbian priest -- first time since 1987. Is it just me, or does the term 'defrocked' just seem a bit awkward in this context? I can honestly say that the Southern Baptist Convention has never had to do anything about a lesbian minister -- not allowing women as pastors kinda eliminates that problem, doesn't it?
  • The UCC (to continue the acronymical insanity) has a new commercial. Maybe you've heard about it. ABC, CBS, and NBC won't air it. Now, I don't like what they're saying -- I know of no evangelical church that would turn people away because of their sexual orientation. Now, if they wanted to be married in the church, join the church, or minister in the church, there may be problems. See, Jesus said something like "Go, and sin no more" once, if I recall correctly. We don't condemn sinners -- the One without sin has the only authority to do that. But we can not condone their sin -- that is also clear from Scripture. I think maybe part of the problem is that people identify themselves too much with what they do, rather than who they are. AND, I think that the Church often doesn't do enough about sin in it's own ranks. I remember Jesus saying something about a beam in the eye, too.
  • I really wish this story would go away. I think it's a stupid idea, and I think the Convention is overstepping their bounds by expecting people to pull their kids out of public education. Maybe we should be training people to go into the schools and be a positive influence. Maybe our youth ministers should focus more on discipleship and less on pizza parties (and yes, I know there are awesome youth ministers out there -- I know several of them from Southern). I salute parents who choose private schools. I salute parents who homeschool. I salute parents who are involved in their kids' public education. The key is to be involved, folks. There, I think I've beat that horse enough.
  • One sample of the many "Holiday Controversy" type stories. I agree with Pseudo-Polymath on this topic, I think. Let them have their "secular holiday" (now THERE'S an oxymoron!) in December. But they have to stop calling it Christmas, and leave us alone to celebrate the birth of our Savior. I end up stressed at this time of year, over what to get people, if I've gotten them enough, and all that garbage. It's easy to lose focus on what's important. Maybe it's time to reclaim Christmas as our own -- they don't really get it anyway. I think our Jewish brethren have the right idea -- how much Chanuka-related marketing do you see? Very little in many parts of the country. THAT would be refreshing.
  • And as we're fighting our own culture wars, our brethren in Europe have seemingly been pushed too far. Unfortunately, they may have been snoozing too long. Check out this Guardian story, and think about how close we have come, and how close we still may come, to a society just like this. Cultural engagement can help avert this; of course, if the left was really tolerant, they'd never have attacked us for our religious beliefs in the first place.
  • In case you were wondering why all of us evangelical-type peole got so politically active this election, Alan Boraas at the Anchorage Daily News has the answer. It's not concern for our rights as citizens. It's not a desire to make the country a better place. It's not even because we're all brainwashed. It's all because of the rapture. Read the article, and think about how sad it is that a professor of anthropology has absolutely no clue about the topic he's writing about. NOTHING WE DO CAN MAKE THE RAPTURE HAPPEN ANY FASTER!!!!!!! A good majority of evangelical Christians don't believe in the rapture anyway -- what motivates them????? No answers, because that line of questioning tends to defeat stereotypes of Christians. Too bad, the article had a little promise. And I hold out little hope that anything will change people's minds. Don't confuse them with facts, their minds are made up. And they say we're anti-intellectual.

Now I'm going to head over to GetReligion, and see what I should have said about all these articles.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 06:19 PM | Comments (0)

December 04, 2004

I'm on the Bandwagon

I have joined Blog Explosion. I figured it would be an interesting experiment, so I followed Challies.com, Patriot Paradox, Spare Change, and several others in the blogroll into the explosion.

I've gotten a few visits from it, but no reviews yet. I figure it will take a little while, so I'm being patient. This service has been beneficial to a LOT of people out there, so who knows?

If you want to join up too, just click on the banner below, or the link on the left hand side of the page (what I've started calling my NASCAR panel, for obvious reasons).

Posted by Warren Kelly at 03:26 PM | Comments (0)

This Week in Church History

December 5, 633.

A church council was convened in Seville, Spain, ordered by Archbishop Isidore of Seville. The council ruled on a anumber of important issues -- some of which we should pay attention to today. They affirmed the unity of God, while also affirming the Trinity. The ruled that Christians should not force Jews to convert. They also ruled that once a person became a monk, it was for life. They even got a little political, backing the newly-crowned King Sisenand even thogh he had deposed the old king. In exchange for their support, the King freed the clergy from any mandatory state service, and made the Church tax-exempt.

They also ruled on a controversial new form of music -- hymns. Prior to this time, most of the songs sung in church were Biblical passages set to music, but recently some Christians were writing their own praises to God. This caused a huge stir in the church, as people wondered whether these works of mere men were suitable for use in the church of God.

In the end, it wasn't much of a conflict. The council ruled that the hymns written by holy men, such as bishops Ambrose and Hilary, could be considered fit for use in holy services. When we read some of these hymns, it's clear that the content of the songs are scriptural, the music was the same style as had been used before, and the character of the writer was unquestioned. The music was fit for use in the Church.

We face a similar "controversy" today -- the feud over "praise music" and "contemporary worship" in churches. The songs are the same, the message is the same, but the fight is over the style. Can "modern music" praise God?

It always has in the past. God doesn't give us a formula in Scripture about what kind of music He likes, and what kind He doesn't. Christians are commanded to "do all for the glory of God" -- that includes our music, no matter what we listen to. I'm amused at the ammount of time we spend fighting about this issue -- a church can have a growing ministry, a tremendous outreach, and fantastic expository preaching, but if they have a praise band and play CCM, we want to lump them in with the apostates who deny the Gospel, the Bible, and every teaching of Scripture! This is self-defeating. We have more important work before us, and we should be worrying about that, not what style of music God likes.

We need to remember that this fight has always gone on, and has always been regarded later in history as a petty debate. We need to get over it, and get about more important work.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 05:14 PM | Comments (0)


Well, this is my first day on BlogExplosion, and I'm shocked and impressed. So far, 70 hits just from BE. My total page loads is over 100 for the first time since I started writing.

If you're stopping by from BE, stick around and read a bit. Some of what is here might challenge a stereotype or two that you might have, but don't be afraid. I've been told that that could be a good thing -- usually by people who refuse to understand anyone with any faith whatsoever, but especially those pesky evangelical Christians. If you've ever wondered what's up with "those people," then stick around. You might also want to read this post on just that subject -- "those people" I mean.

So bookmark this page, and check back by every so often -- you might learn something. A few regular features that you can count on (though the schedule I once had is WAY off right now -- I'm hoping to get back to one in January): This Week in Church History is a regular, as well as the ongoing Bible study in Mark's Gospel. The study is NOT an overly scholarly study -- in fact, it's usually rather devotional, but that's OK too. I think it's important to apply the Bible, not just to know all about it -- though I do think Biblical illiteracy is a big problem in the church today.

I also started a "regular" thing about the little guys in the Bible, but I've only done one of those so far. I should probably revisit that soon.

So anyway, welcome to all the Blog Explosion visitors. Stop by often! ANd you regulars -- you can always say "I knew that blog when it only got 5 readers a day! Now he's all the way up to 50."


Posted by Warren Kelly at 10:29 PM | Comments (0)

December 05, 2004

AH, Tolerance!

Just when I thought that I would never have to talk about something like this again. Just when I thought that Kristof's articles were starting to get through (the two I have agreed with so far, I mean).

The Philly Inquirer reported that a WHYY reported called the offices of a conservative group and left the following message (emphases added)

"Hi, my name is Rachel, and my telephone number is... I wanted to tell you that you're evil, horrible people. You're awful people. You represent horrible ideas. God hates you and he wants to kill your children. You should all burn in hell. Bye."
She apologized later, saying that it was a "personal matter that was turned into a public issue." Yeah, I guess saying that over 150,000 people (the subscribers to laptoplobbyist's newsletter) AND their children should go to hell is a personal matter.

There's a difference here between Christians and this garbage, by the way. Christians are trying to get people to NOT go to hell. Maybe we go oer the top sometimes, but the goal is to get people out of hell. We all deserve it -- that's what God's justice is about. We don't have to get what we deserve -- that's called grace. That's what the Christian message is -- or should be, at any rate. And, in case you're interested, God doesn't want to kill your children, or mine. Just thought I'd clear that up.

But I'm the intolerant one. Yeah, right.

{Almost forgot -- tip o' the hat to James at the PCCBoard Forums

Posted by Warren Kelly at 01:22 AM | Comments (0)

In the Holiday Spirit ...

I've decided to set up my Amazon donation page to collect donations to sponsor a World Vision child for one year. Everything I get in that account between now and January 6 will be donated to World Vision, but my goal is to raise the $360 that it will take to sponsor a child for one full year.

All you have to do is click on the box, and donate. You can donate as little as a dollar, or as much as you want. Everything goes to World Vision, and I'm NOT taking any tax writeoff for myself. If we get enough to sponsor a child, I will post all the information I get about that child, so that everyone will be informed.

If you've ever wanted to sponsor a WV child, but haven't had the resources to do it yourself, this is a great opportunity. So go over there on the right side, and click the button.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 09:54 PM | Comments (0)

December 07, 2004

Today in Church History

{This should have gone up yesterday, but I goofed. Sorry.}

I've done one of these this week, but I have a couple more. Some important things happened, and we need to think about the implications.

December 6, 1273.

Throughout his life, Thomas Aquinas had fought to be able to express his beliefs. He was called a "dumb ox" by his fellow students. His wealthy family didn't want him to become a monk -- going so far as to hire a prostitute to seduce him.

Thomas prevailed, and the church has been indebted to him ever since. Without his writings and philosophy, the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church would be very different. His Summa Theologica is regarded as one of the most important writings of the Middle Ages. He is widely regarded as being one of the greatest thinkers in all of Christendom.

On this date, he received a vision. When he was asked to tell of his vision, he simply said "Such things have been revealed to me that all I have written seems to me as so much straw. Now I await the end of my life."

What did Thomas see? Nobody knows. I think that it's clear that whatever he saw, it was enough to show him that, in the long run, disputations and debate are meaningless. Aquinas' theology, and that of most of the medieval Scholastics, taught that reason alone was enough to get to a saving knowledge of God. Centuries later, Martin Luther realized that the endless string of "ergo" {therefore} was leading people nowhere. He realized that you can 'ergo' straight to Hell -- the key to saving faith is in the word "Nevertheless."

God is omnipotent
Jesus is God
Ergo Jesus is omnipotent
Ergo Jesus could have defeated the Roman soldiers and established His kingdom on earth.
NEVERTHELESS, He dies willingly for our sins.

God is holy
We are not holy
Ergo there is a separation between God and Man
NEVERTHELESS, God has made a way for us to be reconciled to Him.

That one word makes the difference.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 08:51 PM | Comments (0)

December 08, 2004

Christaphobiacs Annonymous

{Hat tip to Christianity Today's Weblog}

The Vatican is pressing for the UN to recognize hatred of Christians as "an evil equal to hatred of Jews and Muslims," and some Christians think it's a bad idea.

"Obviously we have seen many countries where Christian minorities are in danger, but we don't think this is the appropriate way to really ensure protection," said Alessandra Aula of Franciscans International, a Catholic pressure group.
"What we fear is that this is the way to start eroding universal human rights," she said from her office in Geneva. "You will then have Sikhs and Buddhists and all the others coming and claiming rights. Where does it end?"
Haven't heard of the term before? Not surprised.
This campaign has been so discreet that the term was hardly known until the Vatican's foreign minister, Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, said last Friday that the Holy See had insisted the U.N. list it along with anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.
"It should be recognised that the war against terrorism, even though necessary, had as one of its side-effects the spread of 'Christianophobia' in vast areas of the globe," he told a U.S.-organised conference on religious freedom in Rome.
I've thought about starting a list of Christophobic blogs that are out there. I've run into a couple through BlogExplosion (including one who was offended at my "Would be nice if you had a clue" comment), but I really don't think that anyone cares about hatred of Christians.

For the record: I hate nobody based on their actions or behavior. I don't hate homosexuals (even though I wish they would stop trying to impose their morality on me, and expect me to approve of their lifestyle). I don't hate Muslims (had a good friend in Georgia who converted from Christianity to Islam. Never stopped liking the guy). I don't even hate hypocritical Christians (there are a few out there). I hate what people do. Heck, I hate people drinking too much, but some of my best friends partied their way through a few years of high school. They knew I didn't do that, and didn't bug me to go drinking with them (that much), and knew who to call if they needed a ride home (though they never called me). There are a few Christians who carry the stupid "God Hates Fags" signs, but they're rejected by most Christians -- even my ultra-fundamentalist friends at the FFF think they're disgusting and an embarassment to real Christians. But if you read some of the media, and a few blogs, we're all alike.

Maybe someone should start Christaphobics Annonymous. But I doubt anyone would come, because there aren't that many people who think it's a problem.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 04:53 PM | Comments (0)

Why Political Activism is NOT the Answer

I've said it a few times before -- I think Christians need to pay attention to politics, we need to vote according to our beliefs, and we need to encourage others to do the same. But politics is not going to make America "God's Country" -- and it shouldn't be our focus to change the US into some sort of 21st Century Christendom.

Christian principles are to take care of the poor without obligating them to anything, to forgive people who have done things to us WITHOUT thought to whether they deserve our forgiveness. Government can't do this all the time -- when it's been tried, it has failed. It is not the job of government to take care of the poor. It is not the government's job to decide right and wrong -- the government decides what is legal and what is illegal. It is the church's duty to be the arbiter of morality, and to strictly enforce those standards on it's members. If we can't even get THAT right, how can we expect to be able to run a country?

But society can not, and should not, expect Christians, or anybody of any faith at all, to set their beliefs aside when the time comes for important decisions like who to elect to the highest office in the land. It is insulting when I read that Christians need to leace the religion stuff at church -- as if my faith should have absolutely no effect on who I am today. (I always thought of that song when I heard John Kerry campaigning this past year.)

There are a whole host of articles about this topic wandering about on the internet. Here are a couple that peeked my interest:

Posted by Warren Kelly at 05:14 PM | Comments (0)

December 09, 2004


Ok, I'm competing in the King of Blogs tournament again -- yeah, I know I got my behind whomped the last time, but this time will be different! How do I know? I'm kissing up this time, that's how I know.

I've added the judges to my blogroll. Of course, News From the Great Beyond was already there. She's been a wonderful Queen of the Blogs, and I'm sure that as a judge she will be even better. I'm ashamed that Bad Example wasn't on the blogroll before -- how could I expect to win without having a link to this exceptional blog on my blogroll? No wonder I got stomped. AND he's competing in the 2004 Weblog Awards (which he should win with no problem, of course -- go vote for him right now!!). And then there's The Smarter Cop. What an appropriate name! Just read a few of Pietro's posts and you'll see just why he was chosen to be a judge for this tournament. This quality blog is a great addition to any blogroll, and mine looks even more intelligent than it already was just for having it there. In fact, I feel smarter just having read it.

And I'll be asking for YOUR support later on. My faithful readers. My wonderful, intelligent, faithful readers. You guys rock, you know that?


You do.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 11:52 AM | Comments (0)

December 10, 2004

Laughing At Ourselves

I love reading LarkNews. I enjoy The Holy Observer. I'll probably (when I actually have money and a job again) support both of these websites. In short, I have a sense of humor, and the ability to laugh at myself. Especially, I see some value in satirizing religious practices (though I don't find Landover Baptist especially funny anymore; they've gone more than a bit over the top, and it seems they're not quite as relevant as they once were).

So I would be in opposition to the law in Britain that would potentially outlaw religious satire, claiming that it fosters religious hatred. And I hope I'm not alone.

I've said my piece about people ridiculing religious ideas. There is a difference between ridicule and satire -- though it is a fine line. I think that it's ironic that England is doing this -- England has largely abandoned any real religious practice in favor of ceremony, it seems to me. I would have expected this to come from the "tools of the Religious Right(tm)" who are running the US right now. Maybe I just missed the meeting when we discussed that, I don't know. You'd think they'd have sent me a memo or something -- after all, my dues ARE paid up.

Satire is a valuable tool, and I think of myself as rather satirical at times (though I haven't done much of that on this blog yet). And the ability to laugh at ourselves is important to a sane outlook on life. The line that we walk, though, is when it stops being satire and starts being mean-spirited, or ridiculing. That's when I stop laughing and start getting offended.

But government shouldn't decide where that line is. Good taste should. And if I don't like what someone says on TV or in print, I can always ignore them. Or work to try to change their mind -- which is what the Christian mission is.

{edit}And, in case anyone was wondering, I thought the nativity at Tussauds was pretty funny.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 01:25 PM | Comments (0)

King of Blogs Contest Stuff

You can win, too! Check this out.

As you can see from the chart on the left, there has been a final contestant named. Let the contest begin!!!

Also, I've had a few people ask me why I didn't kiss up to the Commish in my previous post. I naturally assumed that his highness the King would already know how highly he is thought of here at the Pew. Of course, he IS in my Blogroll. I was remiss in congratulating him on his winning entry in the Watchers Council, but I am sure that in his wisdom and kindness he will overlook that slight, minor oversight.

{To be serious for a moment, I just wandered my way to this article, which I highly recommend. A LOT of great points made there.}

Posted by Warren Kelly at 01:52 PM | Comments (0)

Best of Blogs

Ok, so I didn't get a nomination for the Weblogs Awards. I can live with that.

I already have one nomination for "Best New Blog" in the Best of Blogs competition, but that's only because I made it. I don't even know if that counts. So everybody go over there and nominate me.

Because, like I said before, you guys, my loyal readers, rock.

Seriously, you do.

Even the people who only show up here for 30 seconds. You BlogExplosions guys rock too.

Just not as hard.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 03:15 PM | Comments (0)

Faith and Reason, part 1: An Overview

{This is part one of a multi-part series about Faith and Reason, and the various ways that Christians have tried to reconcile the two.}

There seems to be an attitude among many people today that Christianity -- especially modern Christianity -- is anti-Enlightenment, and anti-intellectual in general. In a recent article , the Asheville Citizen-Times talks about the evangelical Christian goal of repealing the Enlightenment.

Many of us remember the Age of Enlightenment for opening the way to science and technology. It did so by separating the realms of faith and reason and giving preference to reason where conflicts arose between the two.

I'm not sure that the Enlightenment did that, exactly. I think the Enlightenment started the trend toward replacing faith in God with faith in human reason. It was about finding something different to place faith in, rather than separating faith from reason. In fact, the Enlightenment often tried to bring reason INTO matters of faith -- especially when it came to Biblical interpretation methods. The Enlightenment gave rise to the "historical-critical" model of study, which led to the rise of religious liberalism throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.

This isn't the place to critique historical-critical hermeneutics, or religious modernism (I'll do that later, though). The point is that the Enlightenment and religious faith were far more intertwined than most people want to admit.

Christians have historically believed that faith and reason went hand in hand. As far back as Tertullian, we've been trying to figure out exactly how they fit together, and we've wavered between saying that they didn't at all (Tertullian) to saying that they were essential to each other (Augustine). And we are still debating this among ourselves, so how can we even begin to think about explaining to others what we think about the subject?

The definition given above sounds a lot like what Francis Schaeffer talks about -- the idea that faith and reason are separate, and cannot tell us anything about each other. Science can tell us all baout how things work, and why things work the way they do, and how to make things work better, but it cannot tell us about God. Faith can tell us all about God, and the supernatural, but it can't tell us anything about the material world -- including how it came to be. I'd agree with Schaeffer that this idea is NOT a working worldview, for a LOT of reasons, which I will address later on in another section.

What I want to do in this series is look at the various ways we've tried to reconcile the two seemingly opposing forces -- faith and reason. In the end, I'll talk about why it's important, and how Christianity can be looked at as a rational worldview. In the next part, I'll take a look at the early Church, and how Tertullian tried to reconcile faith and reason -- and why so many Christians today would agree with him today.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 04:10 PM | Comments (0)

December 12, 2004

Trackback Goodness

There's a new 'wrinkle' in the KotB tournament this time. Part of the voting process will depend on YOU, my wonderful, faithful readers. YOU can help me achieve my dream of being King.

Ever since I was a little boy, I've looked forward to a time when I would be King. Of anything -- it didn't matter. I was so little that I always got beat playing King of the Mountain. I was lousy at checkers, so I never got kninged there. And the set of playing cards I got for my birthday when I was six only had 48 cards. Guess which ones were missing. Go ahead, guess.

Anyway, all you have to do is trackback to this post in a post on your own blog, and tell the world that you think that View from the Pew should be the King of the Blogs. If you follow that link, it will even give you info on how to go about tracking back! How hard can that be?!

Posted by Warren Kelly at 02:18 PM | Comments (0)

Christian Carnival is Coming ...

... to Parableman (and yes, I know it still says Parablemania in my blogroll. I haven't bothered to change it -- you all know who I'm talking about!).

To enter is simple. First, your post should be of a Christian nature, but this does not exclude posts that are political (or otherwise) in nature from a Christian point of view. Second, please send only one post dated since the last Christian Carnival (i.e. starting with posts from this past Wednesday). Then, do the following:

Email parableman ATT gmail DOTT com. Please put "Christian Carnival" in the Subject. Provide the following:
Title of your Blog
URL of your Blog
Title of the post you're submitting
URL linking to the post you're submitting
Trackback URL of the post (if you want a trackback)
Short description of the post
The submission deadline is Tuesday, December 14, 9pm EST.

I'm getting back into the Carnival thing, and I actually have a post or two that are worth submitting this time. This carnival does attract new readers to your site, so it's worth posting to. Now I have to get my own submission ready.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 03:04 PM | Comments (0)

December 13, 2004


So, some people have been asking me -- "WHY did you start another blog? Why couldn't you be happy with one?" And I answer -- vanity. I am trying to start a virtual media empire. First, it's a couple of blogs. Then, a game site or two. Then an e-commerce site. Pretty soon ........

{insert dream-sequence/flash-forward music here}

Dateline: Saturn. Virtual Media mogul Warren Kelly has solidified his bid to take over the rule of this entire planet. Following a virtual-media bombardment of epic proportions, which natives have started referring to as a Pew-a-lanch, local governments surrendered control of the planet to representatives of PewView Communications, Inc. late yesterday evening in a secret meeting.

We are told that there will be a press conference later this week, but a press release has been issued. Mr. Kelly has decreed that his official title will be Lord High Communicator, and that his Official Portrait(tm) will be the required on-screen picture for all computers and cellular phones. The people of Saturn will daily kiss the picture of their Lord High Communicator and bow to show their devotion and honor.

Existing Saturnian laws will be preserved, but His Lordship has issued the following Three Demandments:

  1. The official Planetary Sport of Saturn will be changed from Dominos to Brockian Ultra-Cricket.
  2. The Planetary Anthem will be changed from "Hey, Look -- Rings!" to "Finland, Finland!" (with the word Finland changed to Saturn, obviously).
  3. The people of Saturn will be required to spend two years extended duty on assignment with the Ring Cleaning Squad.

His Lordship explained the last new law by saying, "They are not just SOME Saturnians' rings, they belong to us ALL, and we ALL need to help clean them up. Besides, it builds character."

{no, I haven't lost my mind -- this post is the Weekly Challenge in this week's King of the Blogs competition. Go there and vote for me -- and THIS is the post you need to trackback to. Remember, you readers are the BEST. You guys rock. In fact, j00 R0><0r5}

Posted by Warren Kelly at 04:27 PM | Comments (0)

Best of Me Symphony

It's UP!!!

The Anais Nin edition -- one of the best ever - Symphony is up at http://gcruse.typepad.com/the_owners_manual/2004/12/best_of_me_symp_1.html

Head over there and check it out. It's worth a look or two.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 05:12 PM | Comments (0)

December 14, 2004

King of the Blogs UPDATE

The battle is raging, and I'm in second place in the polls. Head over here and vote for View from the Pew. This isn't the final vote, but it gives the winner three points. Also don't forget to trackback to this post, and tell everyone how much you want ME to be King!! If you need help tracking back, try this out.

In any case -- VOTE FOR ME! How often do you get to vote for a King, anyway?

Posted by Warren Kelly at 02:54 PM | Comments (0)

Merry Whateveryoucallit: A Secular Holiday

I mentioned this in another post, but I wanted to elaborate a little bit. I was inspired by this at Wheat and Chaff and this at the Evangelical Outpost. Both make great points.

I am sick of the commercialization and secularization of Christmas. I worked retail, and spent a LONG time actually dreading the Christmas season, simply because of the long hours, the bad attitudes, and the stress. Now that I'm out of retail, I'm getting better, but it still takes me until December 23 to really get into Christmas. Of course, the Christmas spirit usually lasts me until after my birthday (January 26 -- put it on your calendars now!!), so maybe I should observe the Orthodox Christmas on January 6.

Maybe we all should. All Christians, I mean. Let the secularists and the rest of the world have their holiday in December. They can call it Santaday, or something like that. Even call it Yule -- I don't care. They can celebrate it on December 25. Have their truely secular holiday.

We can still participate in it -- that's the beauty of the idea. We can still, if we want to, go out and spend ourselves into a huge debt buying things for everyone so they can exchange them on the 26th for what they really want. But on January 6, we have Christmas to do what you are supposed to do on Christmas -- celebrate the birth of our Savior.

I found it interesting that Christmas wasn't on December 25 until about 350 AD. Before then, the birth of Christ was supposed to be celebrated by a solemn feast. We've lost the solemnity of the day.

I doubt we'll ever change the day we celebrate Christmas. But maybe we should think seriously about celebrating it our way. Buy presents for people -- but don't blow the budget for the next two years. Decorate -- but don't take out a substation with all the lights you put out. And maybe, when we remember that Christmas celebrates the day when God, in His infinite mercy, sent His Son with the ultimate goal of dying in our place, for our sins, we'll remember the true meaning of Christmas AND of Easter. Because when we look at the manger, we should see the cross as well. And we should never forget that without that baby in the manger, nothing that we can do could ever bring us closer to the goal of reconciliation with God. Not because of what we've done, but because of who He is. And maybe we'll remember what the last words Jesus spoke were:

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.
Acts 1:8, ESV
And that's the true meaning of Christmas, Charlie Brown.
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Posted by Warren Kelly at 06:14 PM | Comments (0)

December 15, 2004

Faith and Reason 2: Tertullian

What has Athens to do with Jerusalem? What have heretics to do with Christians?

This is the attitude of a LOT of modern people. What has reason (Athens, the ancient seat of reason and philosophy) to do with faith (Jerusalem, the center of Christian belief)? Most would agree with Tertullian -- nothing at all.

Tertullian had a good reason to give up on a 'reasonable' approach to Christianity. The Greek and Roman philosophers were pagans, after all. The Roman emperor was the one putting Christians to death. He wanted to move Christianity as far as possible from their influence. He was really one of the first to proclaim sola Scriptura -- Scripture alone, without the philosophy and logic. He went so far as to say that because the crucifixion and resurrection were absurd -- the idea that God would come to earth, die, and then rise from the dead is so illogical -- that it must be believed. Tertullian rejected the notion that faith must be understood -- he felt that if it was understood, it was not real faith.

Tertullian was inconsistent, though. He used Greek ideas of philosophy and logic in his arguments and disputations. In his Apology, he expects the Roman authorities to treat Christians the same way that they treat other "criminals" (since that is what Christians were considered at the time). He portrays the Roman condemnation of Christians as unreasonable because it is based in ignorance (Book I of Ad Nationes.)

It seems that we have misunderstood Tertullian's reluctance to mix faith and reason. He should not be considered anti-intellectual -- rather, he is trying to keep overtly pagan influences out of the Church. His major opponent was the heretic Marcion, whose theology was heavily influenced by Greek dualistic ideas.

Unfortunately, there are many who have decided that 'pagan influences' have infiltrated higher education today. This hasn't been helped by the influence of liberal theology in seminary education -- many young men have entered seminaries full of a desire to preach and teach the Gospel of Christ, only to have their faith shattered by professors who don't really believe what they are being paid to teach. In many cases, we have thrown the baby out with the bathwater -- to get away from bad schools and bad theology, we have abandoned the scholarly realm. Mark Noll has a LOT to say about this in his book The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind (a review of which will shortly be up here). As we continue with this series, we will see that faith and reason are not incompatible at all, and that in many cases, Athens and Jerusalem have a lot in common.

The next installment of this series will concern Augustine, and his idea of faith seeking understanding.
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Posted by Warren Kelly at 04:34 PM | Comments (0)

December 16, 2004

This Week in Church History

December 11, 1792.

One month from now, Louis XVI would be executed for crimes against the French people. But on this day, something more important happened.

Joseph Mohr was born in Salzburg Germany. He was illegitimate -- the son of a German soldier (Franz Joseph Mohr) and Ann Schoiber, whose family he was living with at the time. When informed of her pregnancy, Mohr did what too many soldiers have done in similar circumstances -- he ran, even deserting the army. Ann was left holding the bag, and was forced to bear the shame and fine alone.

Young Joseph loved to sing, and was allowed to join a Benedictine choir, and studied music with the choirmaster's other students. He excelled, learning several instruments by the age of twelve. He was ordained a priest in 1815.

Three years later, faced with a broken organ and no Christmas music, Mohr wrote the words to one of the most beloved Christmas carols of all time, "Silent Night, Holy Night."

Mohr never became wealthy because of the song; in fact, he died penniless, having devoted his money to a school for poor children. But his example -- a child who had no hope for any future, whose stigma could have prevented him from receiving an education, but was given a chance by people who loved him -- is an inspiration for us all.

Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht,
Alles schläft; einsam wacht
Nur das traute hochheilige Paar.
Holder Knabe im lockigen Haar,
Schlaf in himmlischer Ruh!
Schlaf in himmlischer Ruh!

Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht,
Hirten erst kundgemacht
Durch der Engel Halleluja,
Tönt es laut von fern und nah:
Christ, der Retter ist da!
Christ, der Retter ist da!

Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht,
Gottes Sohn, o wie lacht
Lieb' aus deinem göttlichen Mund,
Da uns schlägt die rettende Stund'.
Christ, in deiner Geburt!
Christ, in deiner Geburt!

(If you have problems with some of the characters, change your Encoding to Unicode UT-8)
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Posted by Warren Kelly at 10:18 PM | Comments (0)

December 17, 2004

Online Shopping, and Credit Card Security

I keep telling people that it's easier to shop online. And I keep hearing about credit card security, and how bad it is on the Internet.

And I see these same people sit in a restaurant and pay for their meal by credit card. And hand their credit card to a waiter or waitress that they don't even know. Seriously -- with a cheap magnetic strip reader, this person could have your card, and you'd never know it until the charges showed up on your account.

My wife had a card number stolen not long ago -- off the ticket she filled out for a Fed Ex delivery. I've used cards on the Internet all the time, and the only time I've ever had a problem was when someone working at a hotel I was staying at snagged the card number off my receipt (which also had my address and phone number).

Yes, there are scams on the internet. There are scams in real life, too. I don't stay inside all the time, and I'm not going to stop shopping on the 'Net. Here are a few good things to think about:

  • Shop at places you know. Amazon is a great place to shop, and they are secure.
  • Shop places online that you shop in 'real life'. If an internet store has a brick and mortar equivalent, you can be pretty sure they are trustworthy, and are going to be around for a long time.
  • Don't give ANYONE your account number or information by email. REAL companies don't do business this way, only scammers.
  • Look for security. That little padlock in the browser frame is a good sign -- click on it to see how secure things really are. Also look for https:// at the beginning of the site address.
  • Use common sense. Think about what you are doing online.

Follow these tips, especially the last one, and you should be OK shopping online. Now, where did that waiter go with my card?
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Posted by Warren Kelly at 10:00 PM | Comments (0)

Musings Whilst Surfing

Surfing aimlessly through the BlogExplosion links so I can get some more visitors gives me a lot of time to ponder the State of the Blogosphere. Since I AM in the running for the King of the Blogs crown, I figured I'd issue a State of the Blogosphere Address.


My fellow blogospherians (like that word? Me too. Think I'll keep using it.). The blogosphere is a huge place, and each of us is trying to carve out our own little space in it. I have been roaming my (future) kingdom, and several things have attracted my attention...

  1. You may enjoy your music. Your friends may enjoy your music. But you do NOT have to inflict your music on the casual surfer. If you MUST put the latest Ashley Simpson MP3 on your blog, have the decency to put the OFF button at the top, so that those of us who HAVE musical taste can turn it off quickly.
  2. There is a LOT of whining about BlogExplosion. Hint 1: It doesn't work unless you surf it. Hint 2: If you aren't getting repeat visitors, it MIGHT be because your block is bad, not because BlogExplosion is bad. Many of us ARE getting repeat hits.
  3. The business of choice in the blogosphere seems to be Multi-Level Marketing. Been there, done that, didn't have enough upline to buy the T-shirt. Pretty soon, everyone in the blogosphere will be selling, and nobody will be buying.

And now, the State of the Pew:

Actually, I've got some great suggestions out of the KotB competition, so even if I don't win, it's been worth it. I'm going to have to do something about the overall design of the site, and improve my CSS abilities. I was hoping to do it over Christmas, but I don't know if I will or not. Soon, though -- promise.

Next week will be in Florida on the 2004 Kelly Family Christmas Tour, so the blogging will be done through the laptop (not quite Lappy 486 vintage, but close). The Faith - Reason series will continue, as will TWiCH and the Mark study.

Let me know if you know of any worthwhile blogs that should be in the blogroll. I'm about to prune it again, and I don't just want to get rid of stuff -- I want to get some new stuff. I've already added a few from my BlogExplosion roaming (see, it DOES work).

Posted by Warren Kelly at 10:23 PM | Comments (0)

December 18, 2004

And the Winner Is ..........


KOTB - Rulings
Final Ruling
View from the Pew 40
I Hate My Cubicle 31.5
illogicology 28.5

Wow. What can I say but -- awesome. As I mentioned in the previous post, I've gotten some great feedback on my blog -- as you can see, the graphic is back on top! Working on an 'About Me' thing right now -- I may have to use BlogSpot's Profile feature for right now. And I'm tweaking the present template in response to the reactions from the judges.

Now I have to defend my crown next week. And if the challenge next week is as good as it was this week, I'll have my hands full.

To the judges: My thanks for your gracious comments, and suggestions. Especially for the suggestions.

To the other pretenders to the throne this week: You both did a good job. Owen, with more experience under your belt, you'll be an even bigger threat to the throne. Steve, you've got a great blog - keep up the good work.

Next week should be interesting.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 08:14 PM | Comments (0)

December 20, 2004

Weekly Report

This week's blogging will be light, unfortunately, if it is existant at all after today.

My laptop isn't working. The cord to the power supply shorted, I can't fix it, and another power supply will cost $60 and take at LEAST a week to get. I MIGHT be able to wrangle some internet time at the public library, or from friends, but I'm not going to promise much. All the series that are running WILL continue -- and will probably be even better, since I'll have time to formulate my thoughts.

NEXT week will be better, since I will be able to use my father in law's computer starting Tuesday or Wednesday of next week, when we get to the Virginia leg of the Kelly Family Christmas Tour 2K4(tm).

Posted by Warren Kelly at 01:46 PM | Comments (0)

My Reign as King of the Blogs

I've decided that my previous State of the Blogosphere address, while good, was not a real address from the King, since I wasn't King yet. So I am going to spell out what you, the citizens of the Blogosphere, can expect from my reign.

Everyone is influenced by someone. Everyone can look back on their life and see people who have influenced them, without whom their own lives would have been radically different. Politicians look back to people like Abe Lincoln, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson. Musicians are influenced by the music they listened to growing up. Writers are influenced by the greats in literature.

Kings are influenced by other kings, of course.

So the question is, who? There are so many great kings, who to emulate?

King Richard, the Lionheart? Shall I lead my followers into a Holy Crusade against unupdated websites? Go off to war and leave the blog in the hands of my evil brother?

William the Conquerer? Shall I lead invasions of those blogs who do not recognize my Kingship, and subjugate them? Change their language and force them to assimilate my culture?

But I have chosen my role model. Life is tough, and the King of the Blogs needs to be tougher. But the King of the Blogs should also know how to enjoy life to the fullest, so I will model my reign as King of the Blogs after King Arthur, the legendary King of the Britons.

Arthur appreciates science and technology, so the blogosphere is a perfect place to immitate his reign. His combat abilities (as evidenced in the fight against the Black Knight) show his willingness to fight against his foes, but to show them mercy when needed. Plus, Camelot was a notorious party center, and we all know how blogospherians like to party. And he is legendary, so I can basically do whatever I want, and say that it's based on something Arthur did that scholars don't know about yet.

Arthur surrounds himelf with quality advisors, and I would have to have some of those. One would have to be The King of Fools, since he is a fellow King (and has been a king longer that me, so he can give me suggestions). The current judges are former rulers, and persons of exquisite taste, so their opinions would be vital to my reign.

I think that an Arthurian reign will benefit the entire blogosphere. ANd this way, if I lose, I can always come back. Blogius rex quondam, blogius rex futurus.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 01:49 PM | Comments (0)

Geek Tests

Everyone is taking this Geek test. I rated a 46%, Geek Interpreter, and I wanted a second opinion, so I went here. There I scored 44%, Major Geek. I think the Innergeek test is more comprehensive, but they both seem pretty good.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 02:03 PM | Comments (0)

Best of Me Symphony

The Best of Me Symphony is up at The Owner's Manual. Head on over and check it out -- and get something ready for NEXT WEEK'S symphony.

Email Gary at gcruse AT netscape DOT com to send your submission in for next week's symphony.
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Posted by Warren Kelly at 03:40 PM | Comments (0)

December 29, 2004

Back! and a LITTLE about Christmas

Well, I've finally been able to gain computer access. For now. SO, the Week in Review:

My reign as King of the Blogs was a short one, thanks to a substandard challenge post on my part. I still could have won if I had gotten more votes at the site, but I lost by 0.5 points. Thanks to the four of you who voted or me!

Now to get back to "business", whatever that means.

My wife is reading Fank Schaeffer's Faith of Our Sons, which is an awesome book. I'm looking forward to reading it when she gets done. Some of the things she's read to me really remind me of what I've read of his father -- especially his reaction to people who are "thinking about" our troops, rather than coming right out and saying "praying for" them. I'll have more on this later, and a full review will show up at The Pew Reviews fter I get to read it.

There's a pretty good story about the real Santa Claus here, and an atheist talks about finding "spirituality" at Christmas -- even if you don't believe in God -- here. I think that's wonderful and all, but I still wish that people would just get their own holiday, and keep their hands off of mine. You don't believe in what the day is all about, don't celebrate it. I'm sure that some creative atheist could come up with something they could celebrate at about the same time of year. Of course, as I've mentioned before, I also wish that Christians would take their holidays seriously, and actually remember that there was a purpose to them beyond getting presents -- and giving presents. Of course, if we're going to get away from any religious recognition at all, we'd have to get rid of the word 'holiday' -- comes from holy day, after all.

The Decatur Daily has the right idea, but they miss the point with this sentence: "Our weeks of celebrating can add to the event if we keep in mind that Christ came to earth to offer mankind a new code by which to live."

He did much more than that. If all we do is live by His teachings, and ignore who He was, and what He came to do, we miss the real point of His teachings. He came to die, and to conquer death, and by doing so made it possible for man to be reconciled with God. We can't do it on our own -- we can't even figure out how to do it ourselves, and we've spent millenia trying. Christ died and rose again so that we don't have to keep trying.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 09:49 AM | Comments (0)

December 31, 2004

The Year in Review -- 2004

December 31, 2004. Another year gone.

My first year of blogging. I know that everyone does the whole year in review thing (even the design shows on TLC have been doing them, for crying out loud!), but maybe mine will be a little different. After all, I'm a little different.

First, my five favorite posts. The Corner suggested it first, and I have seen it don all over the blogosphere, so far be it from me to fail to jump on the bandwagon. In no particular order:

  • My First Post -- not a great one, but it's my first one. Figured some people might want to go all the way back to March and read what I had to say back in the "early days."
  • Jesus, Paul, and Peter Jennings -- my first really long, thought provoking post. Got me on a few search engines, too.
  • Any of the Today (or This Week) in Church History posts -- I just love church history. Gimme a break, OK?
  • A Nation of Jonahs -- I've gotten a lot of mileage out of this simple observation -- it's showed up on the King of the Blogs competition, the Christian Carnival, and the Best of Me Symphony. And next Sunday, I'm preaching it (actually, the same theme, but MUCH more involved).
  • Study of Mark -- it's turned into a lot more than I thought, and it's gone longer than I expected (and it's overdue!), but I'm enjoying this study.

And there are a lot more. My comments on the Constitution Party, my religio-political posts (not always received sympathetically by people who normally agree with me). It's hard to pick favorites, and I've cheated on this list.

The year has seen bloggers become ABC's People of the Year. Blogospherians helped take down Dan Rather. Election coverage was taken to new heights (or depths). Sociologists and communications specialists are taking notice of this "new trend" in communication. And bloggers are getting book deals. Blogging is making an impact on our culture in ways that we won't really be able to see for years, if not decades. And it doesn't look like it's going to die out. Slow down, maybe. Change, certainly. Die out, not even.

This is the first year that I've really read blogs. I've met interesting people, discussed and argued with people I'll never see, and been quoted by people who think I had something interesting to say. Bloging is addictive, and I'm hooked. I'm looking forward to the next year.

My hopes for the new year:

  • New host, new URL, bigger site. I can do more here than just rant, and I'm hoping that I'll be able to soon.
  • Increased exposure for the little blogs that have something to say. There seem to be two groups in the blogosphere that get the most attention -- the big pundits like Instapundit and Kos, and the personal diaries of teenagers who cannot spell, but want to tell the world about their day at school. The third group, which I think is a majority, is made up of people like me, and the people on my blogroll. People who have good things to say, but don't get much attention. I read things as I cruise through my daily-read blogs (got a nice new RSS reader just for that purpose!) and I think to myself, "More people should read this. This is good stuff." There are people blogging who should be heard, and I think that 2005 is going to be the Year of the Blogging Underdogs.
  • Increased exposure for the Godblogs. And maybe I'm being a bit selfish here, since I consider myself a Godblogger. There is a LOT of intense theoloogical discussion going on out here, and people should be aware of it. There's a lot more that I should be aware of -- I find new blogs every day that blow me away with some of what they are saying.

And that's the year that was. 2004 was fun. May 2005 be even better, for us all. Happy New Year.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 01:31 AM | Comments (0)

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